Innovations and improvements in technology bring many changes in how organisations and companies handle their businesses. As the changes are inevitable, every person needs to embrace the change. This leads to the world taking this paradigm in every industry by the incorporation of the new technology.
Despite the upsides associated with these technologies, there are several challenges that organisations suffer from. Cyber attacks are one of the fast-growing cybercrime that occurs every year. According to studies, there is a significant increase in such crimes due to the novel technology shift.
These crimes have impacted the companies affected, causing data loss and huge losses that befall them. To reduce cases, it is paramount to conduct a security audit to aid in the identification of the loopholes that are in the system.
Frequently, the phrase “what question should be asked when conducting a security audit” appears during a security consultation by different companies. This article will highlight all the details you need to know about a security audit before implementation.
What Is a Security Audit?
A security audit is the evaluation and assessment of the companies information system to ensure that it conforms to the set protocols. Often the assessment involves testing the physical and non-physical software that can lead to any data breach.
For the audit to occur, it is pivotal to use different testing methods to assert its viability. These tests are essential to identify any gaps and loopholes available to hackers leading to a security breach. The system runs through a series of vulnerability probes under monitoring for easy evaluation of security threats.
Why Do Companies need IT Security Audit?
The main aim of running a security audit for the company or any business is to assess the security risks and capabilities of any information system in the company. Moreover, this allows the company to undertake a risk assessment to determine how it affects the companies general performance.
Security audit aids the company by having a better blueprint on how to curb and implement new security networks. It allows them to be prepared and secure from any security breaches.
The security audits allow the companies to remain compliant with the set regulatory standards set by different regulator bodies. Therefore, the mandatory security audit enables the company to run legally without any discrepancies.
Due to the increase in the number of cybercrimes, the security audit allows the company to upgrade the security network systems that are more encrypted to prevent data loss. Using modern systems like the Microsoft 360 security guarantees you maximum protection in any organisation’s asset.
Consequences of Security Breach
- Financial Loss
This is the significant effect that companies experience when there is a data breach. Financial costs tend to go higher for compensation for the loss of data that affects both the consumers and the company.
When carrying out the investigation, money spent carrying out the research leaves a detrimental effect on the finances because they are costly.
Fines and penalties imposed on the organisation leave a long-term effect on the company’s financial status once there is any breach in the system.
- Public Image Destruction
Once the company experiences a breach, word tends to spread fast, leading to reputational damage. This leads to the loss of networks and partnerships, which causes a significant effect on the company’s sales and operations.
This creates a loss of trust between the vendor and the consumer, leading to contract termination and increasing turnovers for the company, making significant losses.
- Legal Consequences
Breaching data leads to heavy legal punishments for failure to protect and maintain data privacy. This leads to an increase in lawsuits that’s may make the company incur significant losses due to the penalties.
- Information Loss
Loss of information is the effect of such breaches. Losing personal and private data affects the consumer and company directly. This exposes confidential information to the public through hackers, making it hard to retrieve. It increases the potential of more attacks to the system through these data base.
How Long Does a Security Audit Take?
Security audits are time-consuming due to their complexities. This affects the period for execution. Most organisations tend to prefer to run their audits quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Frequently, these require intense preparation as the reports will be time-consuming due to the evaluation of findings.
Routine audits can be monthly or on a shorter time frame which covers the risk assessments that can be resolved instantly. The long-term audits require updates and outsourcing of these particular services in the company.
How Do You Prepare For a Security Audit?
The following are steps that will help you prepare for the audit.
- Create a blueprint of the security information system
- Inform the company shareholders of the ongoing audit process
- Review the standards and regulation compliances
- Evaluate the information security policy of the company
- Create an itinerary and timeframe for the audit
- Create an audit inventory for accountability
- Conduct an internal security audit for self-assessment
How To Perform a Security Audit
A successful audit requires a well-structured blueprint for easy report writing and data collection. When planning to do the security audit for the company, it is essential to understand the whole company departments and goals for easy audit execution. Here are the steps to follow when conducting an audit.
- Create the audit scope: this allows you to have the correct goals and aims for the security audit. It includes all the network connections and software that need to be audited.
- State all potential threats: defining all the possible threats narrows the audit outline of expectations. Hazards can include malware, IoT, and hacking.
- Create a risk assessment list: this allows the audit to work systematically from the prioritised ones to low risk. The index evaluates current trends, compliance, and cyber-attack history in the company.
- Evaluate security blueprint: ensuring all the goals set in the audit scope are achieved and resolved.
- Report and implementation: after a complete analysis of the system, the organisation can quickly fill the gaps through new services like network monitoring, software updates such as Microsoft 360 security, information segmentation, and training.
What are The Types of Security Audits?
Several types of security audits can be run in organisations to detect cybercriminals. Below are the top applicable methods:
As the primary method for the security audit, the main aim of using the vulnerability assessment is to identify the malware and flaws present in the whole system. This runs from the designs to the internal controls.
A series of tests are used to determine whether the system has been exposed due to faulty security measures or accessible passwords and inferior authentication methods that affect the security system.
After a complete system review and identification of weaknesses in the designs, remediation is done to restructure and correct the system.
A vulnerability test allows companies to remain updated in the new security regulations and standards; therefore, it can be done quarterly to ensure the company assets are secure.
It is essential to know the tests are completed by the IT controller of your company or the outsourced team to identify the defects. A remote user is used to enhance the assessment by running the tests from an external user.
Examples of vulnerability tests include:
- Host assessment
- System assessment
- Catalogue assessment
Risk assessment prioritises the company’s welfare through the identification of potential risks that may affect the system. It allows the companies to re-evaluate the company’s system controls to manage the potential risks available.
The identification of the risks allows the company to prioritise solving the threat to protect the assets. This mainly affects compliances with the standard and regulatory bodies. Risk assessment ensures that the security policy is updated and in line with the governing bodies.
Penetration tests are very critical for the security audit. This method identifies the loopholes in the system that can be exploited by hacking through cybercriminals. These attacks can be made internally and externally to aid in determining the ambiguities.
External tests are conducted through a remote desktop, allowing the company to identify the system flaw if the hacking is successful. It is a reliable way of detecting malware and security protocol breaches.
Compliance audits involve the companies complying with the regulations set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This type of audit allows companies to keep up to date on the latest policies that have been implemented. It prevents organisations from fines and penalties cases of a breach after a complete audit.
To Wrap Up
A security audit is a sensitive matter that affects companies with stringent penalties in case of any illegalities. This is undoubtedly avoidable when you use OnestopIT as your service provider. For enquiries, visit the website for bookings and consultations. Secure your company today.